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Submerged landscapes of the European Continental Shelf : Quaternary paleoenvironments
The North Sea
The southern and central North Sea basins represent some of the most important areas globally both for the discipline of submerged prehistory and the wider study of the Paleolithic and Mesolithic. It potentially holds some of the earliest evidence for hominin occupation of northwestern Europe and figures strongly in addressing questions on hominin migration and responses to environmental change through the last 500,000 years.
A first computational framework for integrated hydrologic-hydrodynamic inundation modelling
To provide detailed flood hazard and risk estimates for current and future conditions, advanced modelling approaches are required. Model results of a coupled simulation clearly depend on the quality of the individual models. Depending on purpose, location or simply the models at hand, it would be worthwhile to allow a wider range of models to be coupled. As a ﬁrst step, we present a framework which allows coupling of PCR-GLOBWB to both Delft3D Flexible Mesh and LISFLOOD-FP. The coupling framework consists of a main script and a set of functions performing the actual model coupling as well as data processing. All that is required therefore are model schematizations of the models involved for the domain of interest. It is noteworthy that no adaptions to already existing schematizations have to be made.
Groundwater impacts on surface water quality and nutrient loads in lowland polder catchments : monitoring the greater Amsterdam area
The Amsterdam area, a highly manipulated delta area formed by polders and reclaimed lakes, struggles with high nutrient levels in its surface water system. The polders receive spatially and temporally variable amounts of water and nutrients via surface runoff, groundwater seepage, sewer leakage, and via water inlets from upstream polders. Diffuse anthropogenic sources, such as manure and fertiliser use and atmospheric deposition, add to the water quality problems in the polders. The major nutrient sources and pathways have not yet been clarified due to the complex hydrological system in lowland catchments with both urban and agricultural areas. In this study, the spatial variability of the groundwater seepage impact was identified by exploiting the dense groundwater and surface water monitoring networks in Amsterdam and its surrounding polders. A total of 25 variables (concentrations of total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), NH4, NO3, HCO3, SO4, Ca, and Cl in surface water and groundwater, N and P agricultural inputs, seepage rate, elevation, land-use, and soil type) for 144 polders were analysed statistically and interpreted in relation to sources, transport mechanisms, and pathways. The results imply that groundwater is a large source of nutrients in the greater Amsterdam mixed urban–agricultural catchments. The groundwater nutrient concentrations exceeded the surface water environmental quality standards (EQSs) in 93% of the polders for TP and in 91% for TN. Groundwater outflow into the polders thus adds to nutrient levels in the surface water. High correlations (R2 up to 0.88) between solutes in groundwater and surface water, together with the close similarities in their spatial patterns, confirmed the large impact of groundwater on surface water chemistry, especially in the polders that have high seepage rates. Our analysis indicates that the elevated nutrient and bicarbonate concentrations in the groundwater seepage originate from the decomposition of organic matter in subsurface sediments coupled to sulfate reduction and possibly methanogenesis. The large loads of nutrient-rich groundwater seepage into the deepest polders indirectly affect surface water quality in the surrounding area, because excess water from the deep polders is pumped out and used to supply water to the surrounding infiltrating polders in dry periods. The study shows the importance of the connection between groundwater and surface water nutrient chemistry in the greater Amsterdam area. We expect that taking account of groundwater–surface water interaction is also important in other subsiding and urbanising deltas around the world, where water is managed intensively in order to enable agricultural productivity and achieve water-sustainable cities.
Groundwater–surface water relations in regulated lowland catchments : hydrological and hydrochemical effects of a major change in surface water level management
In lowland deltas with intensive land use such as The Netherlands, surface water levels are tightly controlled by inlet of diverted river water during dry periods and discharge via large-scale pumping stations during wet periods. The conventional water level regime in these polder catchments is either a fixed water level year-round or an unnatural regime with a lower winter level and a higher summer level in order to optimize hydrological conditions for agricultural land use. The objective of this study was to assess the hydrological and hydrochemical effects of changing the water level management from a conventional fixed water level regime to a flexible, more natural regime with low levels in summer and high levels in winter between predefined minimum and maximum levels. Ten study catchments were hydrologically isolated and equipped with controlled inlet and outlet weirs or pumping stations. The water level management was converted into a flexible regime. We used water and solute balance modeling for catchment-scale assessments of changes in water and solute fluxes. Our model results show relevant changes in the water exchange fluxes between the polder catchment and the regional water system and between the groundwater, surface water, and field surface storage domains within the catchment. Compared to the reference water level regime, the flexible water level regime water balance scenario showed increased surface water residence times, reduced inlet and outlet fluxes, reduced groundwater-surface water exchange, and in some catchments increased overland flow. The solute balance results show a general reduction of chloride concentrations and a general increase in N-tot concentrations. The total phosphorus (P-tot) and sulfate (SO4) concentration responses varied and depended on catchment-specific characteristics. For our study catchments, our analyses provided a quantification of the water flux changes after converting towards flexible water level management. Regarding the water quality effects, this study identified the risks of increased overland flow in former agricultural fields with nutrient enriched top soils and of increased seepage of deep groundwater which can deliver extra nutrients to surface water. At a global scale, catchments in low-lying and subsiding deltas are increasingly being managed in a similar way as the Dutch polders. Applying our water and solute balance approach to these areas may prevent unexpected consequences of the implemented water level regimes.
A dynamic emulator for physically based flow simulators under varying rainfall and parametric conditions
This work presents a method to emulate the flow dynamics of physically based hydrodynamic simulators under variations of time-dependent rainfall and parametric scenarios. Although surrogate modelling is often employed to deal with the computational burden of this type of simulators, common techniques used for model emulation as polynomial expansions or Gaussian processes cannot deal with large parameter space dimensionality. This restricts their applicability to a reduced number of static parameters under a fixed rainfall process. The technique presented combines the use of a modified Unit Hydrograph (UH) scheme and a polynomial chaos expansion (PCE) to emulate flow from physically based hydrodynamic models. The novel element of the proposed methodology is that the emulator compensates for the errors induced by the assumptions of proportionality and superposition of the UH theory when dealing with non-linear model structures, whereas it approximates properly the behaviour of a physically based simulator to new (spatially-uniform) rainfall time-series and parametric scenarios. The computational time is significantly reduced, which makes the practical use of the model feasible (e.g. real time control, flood warning schemes, hydraulic structures design, parametric inference etc.). The applicability of this methodology is demonstrated in three case studies, through the emulation of a simplified non-linear tank-in-series routing structure and of the 2D Shallow Water Equations (2D-SWE) solution (FLOW-R2D) in two computational domains. Results indicate that the proposed emulator can approximate with a high degree of accuracy the behaviour of the original models under a wide range of rainfall inputs and parametric values.
Interpolation in time series : an introductive overview of existing methods, their performance criteria and uncertainty assessment
A thorough review has been performed on interpolation methods to fill gaps in time-series, efficiency criteria, and uncertainty quantifications. On one hand, there are numerous available methods: interpolation, regression, autoregressive, machine learning methods, etc. On the other hand, there are many methods and criteria to estimate efficiencies of these methods, but uncertainties on the interpolated values are rarely calculated. Furthermore, while they are estimated according to standard methods, the prediction uncertainty is not taken into account: a discussion is thus presented on the uncertainty estimation of interpolated/extrapolated data. Finally, some suggestions for further research and a new method are proposed.
A Bayesian-based system to assess wave-driven flooding hazards on coral reef-lined coasts
Many low‐elevation, coral reef‐lined, tropical coasts are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, sea level rise, and wave‐induced flooding. The considerable morphological diversity of these coasts and the variability of the hydrodynamic forcing that they are exposed to make predicting wave‐induced flooding a challenge. A process‐based wave‐resolving hydrodynamic model (XBeach Non‐Hydrostatic, “XBNH”) was used to create a large synthetic database for use in a “Bayesian Estimator for Wave Attack in Reef Environments” (BEWARE), relating incident hydrodynamics and coral reef geomorphology to coastal flooding hazards on reef‐lined coasts. Building on previous work, BEWARE improves system understanding of reef hydrodynamics by examining the intrinsic reef and extrinsic forcing factors controlling runup and flooding on reef‐lined coasts. The Bayesian estimator has high predictive skill for the XBNH model outputs that are flooding indicators, and was validated for a number of available field cases. It was found that, in order to accurately predict flooding hazards, water depth over the reef flat, incident wave conditions, and reef flat width are the most essential factors, whereas other factors such as beach slope and bed friction due to the presence or absence of corals are less important. BEWARE is a potentially powerful tool for use in early warning systems or risk assessment studies, and can be used to make projections about how wave‐induced flooding on coral reef‐lined coasts may change due to climate change.
Long‐term evolution of the Old Rhine estuary : unravelling effects of changing boundary conditions and inherited landscape
The long‐term morphodynamic evolution of estuaries depends on a combination of antecedent topography and boundary conditions, including fluvial input, sea‐level change and regional‐landscape interactions. Identifying effects of such boundary conditions on estuary evolution is important to anticipate future changes in specific boundary conditions and for hindcasting with numerical and physical models. A comprehensive synthesis of the evolution of the former Old Rhine estuary is presented here, together with its boundary conditions over its full lifespan from 6,500 to 1,000 cal. yr bp. This system formed during a period of sea‐level high stand, during which the estuary served as the main River Rhine outlet. The estuary went through three stages of evolution: a maturation phase in a wide infilling back‐barrier basin, a stable mature phase and an abandoning phase, both in a laterally confined setting. The Old Rhine River formed by a river avulsion around 6,500 cal. yr bp that connected to a tidal channel within a large back‐barrier basin. Decelerating sea‐level rise caused the back‐barrier basin to silt up around 5,700 cal. yr bp, resulting in shoreline progradation by beach‐barrier formation until ∼2,000 cal. yr bp. Beach‐barrier formation along the coast and natural levee formation along the river triggered peat formation in the coastal plain, laterally constraining the estuary and limiting overbank deposition, which caused most sediment to accumulate offshore. The abandoning phase started around 2,200 cal. yr bp when a series of upstream avulsions led to a substantial reduction in fluvial input. This induced a period of enhanced estuarine overbank clay deposition that continued into near‐complete silting up and estuary closure around 1200 ad. These findings exemplify how tidal systems, formed in wide coastal plains during sea‐level high stand, depend on antecedent conditions, and how they respond to connection and disconnection of a large river over long, millennial timescales.
Experimental study on the 3D-flow field of a free-surface vortex using stereo PIV
In order to analyse the flow characteristics of free-surface vortexes and to validate the Burgers vortex model by using stereo particle image velocimetry, experiments are conducted in a 600mm diameter vortex tank. Measured axial velocities indicate that 10–25% of the flow is transported through the vortex core. The velocity profiles show that the axial flow is concentrated in a domain bounded by two times the core radius. Despite Burgers’ assumption of radially independent axial velocity profiles, the model quantifies the tangential velocity profile within a relative uncertainty of circa 10%. The measurements show that it seems valid to use Burgers’ model to obtain an estimate for the core radius by taking the average axial velocity over a radial domain of approximately 2.2 times the core radius. The Burgers model quantifies the air core depth with an uncertainty of 20% relative to the measurements. When compared with the magnitude of vorticity diffusion by molecular viscosity, the experiments show that there is no significant diffusion by radial turbulence.